As teachers, we need to help students draw important connections because it assists in aiding retention. The best way to help bring this to fruition is to concentrate the learning around a given theme. The theme should be threaded across many content areas (multidisciplinary/integrative). My favorite theme is centered around the topic of, "DOGS,"
Believe it or not, the possibilities using this thematic topic are endless and will prove to be a success in any classroom. More importantly, the learning should be interactive (student-centered, experiential), and both hands-on and minds-on. As humans, we need to draw upon experiences that can help us remember important lessons. And, the life school as well as the classroom present fertile environments where we can expand our minds and bodies (mind-body connection).
That said, let's enter the world of dogs:
ELA ARENA: How about teaching idioms using dogs?
Make the learning kinesthetic
a) Act out the Idioms- Mime
b) Who are the comedians in your classroom? Have them do stand-up comedy using dog idioms.
a) Have your artists create pictorials (visual representations /murals)
using dog idioms.
1. Every dog has its day.
2. Let sleeping dogs lie.
3. You cannot teach an old dog new tricks.
4. The tail is wagging the dog.
5. I am working like a dog.
6. I am sick as a dog.
7. I’m in the doghouse now.
8. Putting on the dog
9. His bark is worse than his bite.
10. If you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas.
Words with Dog in Them (Go on a Search for Words):
Reading on topic (Some Suggestions):
1. www.Tailsinc.com (e-zine on dogs)
2. Love that Dog by Sharon Creech
3. Diary of a Whimpy Kid:Dog Days by Jeff Kinney (aligned with idiom work)
4. Walter the Farting Dog (series) by William Kotzwinkle
5. Dog Heaven by Cynthia Rylant (to bring in any children who have dealt with loss)
1. Open Mind Portrait (Literacy Strategy)-create a picture, an open
mind if you will of a dog and place character’s thoughts inside the visual assisting them in thinking
more deeply about the character (Gail E. Thompkins).
4. Create a lifeline of a dog and write a memoir on its life
1. Shape Poetry
Brainstorm dog words and thoughts within a dog picture to be used for the poetry lesson
Find a dog pattern shape, cut it out. Place a piece of tracing paper over the picture and generate poetry
around the dog shape using the brainstorming words and thoughts.
Social Studies: Service Dogs in the Community
1.Research all the kinds of service dogs in a community:
Bomb sniffing, recovery dogs for the dead, drug sniffing, firehouse dogs, therapy dogs, hero dogs at war, dogs that help kids build reading fluency (Reading to Dogs Program by Bide-A-Wee (www.bideawee.org)
2.Service Learning: www.puppiesbehindbars.com www.pawsforpurpleheart.org www.bideawee.org ,animal rescue orgs.
3.Local Events Postings (Current Events with Dogs)
4.Dog Commerce- Economics and Dogs
Science: Conduct the Scientific Method on Topic
1.Dogs and blood pressure: dogs lower blood pressure so test it out. Get a volunteer
to come in from Bide-A-Wee or another org. with a dog and experiment away.
1. Bar Graphing Breeds, Polling the School (involvement in your classroom)-conduct
polls and then chart out the cool results
2.Raising Money for Service-Learning: Banking Industry –savings, checking, etc.
3.Pet Businesses-Marketing (ELA Connection-Create a Business Directory) –Open one
Career and Development:
1.Who Let the Dogs Out? Baha Men
~~~ELA infusion-Write their own dog music
Who plays an instrument? Group writers with musicians and write away :-0)
Technology: Dogs and Apps (Make their toys into Learning Tools)
1. MyPetEd-Pet Health Center by LifeLearn, inc
2. PetFirstAid: For Your Dog, Cat, Puppy, Kitten by JiveMedia,LLC
3. PetPlayPen by Sparebytes.com (Adopt a Virtual Pet)
4. TouchPetsDogs by ngmoco,inc
5. PetSnap by Space Lama
1.As per www.Tailsinc.com April 2012 edition, Project Ideas
Go to the site, create an account and click on past issues. The “DIY,” Do It Yourself Column has the “Upcycled Sweater Toy.” Follow the directions.
Synopsis: Creation of a toy for a dog
In sum, you actually can teach a dog new tricks, particularly if you paint the curriculum using vicarious experiences that they will forever remember.